The Difference Between Individual and Family Healthcare Plans

The costs of medical care in US are soaring with each passing day and in this scenario, it has become quite confusing to identify a perfect health insurance plan. However, if an individual has a clear idea of what kind of coverage his health insurance plan should provide him with as well as the budget that he can afford for the same, then the decision of choosing a good health insurance plan definitely becomes easier.

The two most popular health insurance plans available are individual and family healthcare plans. Even though other health plans seem less costly, the fact remains that individual and family health insurance plans prove to be much more cost effective in the long run. However, before people choose any of the two plans, it is vital to understand the points of difference between the two.

Individual healthcare plans, as the name suggests, provides medical care benefits to a single person and is best suited for people who do not have any family to support or provide medical care to. The plan comes with various options and price ranges depending on the type as well as level of coverage desired by an individual. The cost generally varies according to the individual’s preference of visiting a doctor as well as the medical care facilities of their own choosing or a pre-assigned set of doctors and medical care facilities.

Family healthcare plans are generally selected by people who want a health cover for themselves as well as their families. Since the plan is designed to provide for the medical care of more than one person, it naturally comes with a higher price tag than individual plans. The cost of the plan can vary from one family to another according to the gender, ages as well as the eating and drinking habits of the family members.

Dental Care For the Poor

We all know that dentists are highly specialized doctors who deal with all kinds of dental issues; however, his expertise does not limit to only teeth but may also cure other issues related to the mouth such as sore mouth, swollen gums etc.

It is widely believed that visiting a dentist more often for a routine check up is always better than visiting him for any dental issue. Though the fees charged by dentists are high there are some dental care services that may charge you nominal fee and help in getting treated at a low cost.

For those people who find it difficult to pay for their dental checkups, there are dental care organizations where cheap or free of cost dental checkups are done.. Even universities have offers for the poor to take care of their dental issues at a low price or for free. Often projects and camps are conducted by students who are doing the studies of dentistry to offer free or reasonable aid to people suffering from dental problems but can not afford dental care.

You may also come across numerous plans and communities established only for the welfare of poor who are not able to afford dental checkup. There are several NGOs and governmental organizations that can help in curing your dental problems for free or at a nominal cost. There are thousands of recognized dentist who participate in such charity based dental checkup events.

Those people who cannot afford regular dental checkup due to unfavorable financial conditions, it is suggested to opt for dental discount plans. Such plans may be available with most of the dentists. You may receive your membership card which you need to show to your dentist whenever you visit him.

Finding a proper dentist who offers cheap dental care service in your locality, may not be that tough. You may seek advice from your friends and relatives about cheap dental care programs. You may even check in business directories for reasonable or free dental checkup.

There are fair chances that you may find details of some good and reasonable dentist. A search on the internet for low cost dentist or free dental care can help you find affordable dental treatment service in your vicinity.

Family Healthcare: The Dangers Of A Heart Attack & How To Avoid It

A heart attack happens when the blood supply to part of the heart muscle itself (the myocardium) is severely reduced or even stopped entirely.

If you know the symptoms and the risk factors of a heart attack, you can avoid having one and live a safer, healthier, longer and happier life

Heart attack has been reported to be the number one killer disease among adult Americans aged 50 yrs and older.

Typical symptoms of a heart attack include a crushing pain in the chest, sweating, difficulty breathing, weakness and pain in the arms, particularly the left.

Here are some family healthcare insights on how to prevent heart attacks.

Symptoms one could attribute to something else can cause devastating delays in seeking treatment.

These include feelings of indigestion, back shoulder and neck pain and nausea.

Early signs of trouble may appear during physical activity and disappear with rest.

Any numbness or tingling of the fingers or toes, dizziness, shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing should not be ignored.

It is not enough to know the symptoms of a heart attack, which can be wide-ranging and confusing.

It appears that most Americans are oblivious of the risk factors of a heart attack.

It is very important also to know the risk factors such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and family history.

Clinical studies, laboratory investigations and a number of surveys show that certain personal characteristics and lifestyles can lead to increased danger of a heart attack.

These danger signs are called “risk factors.”

These well established risk factors are high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, cigarette smoking and diabetes mellitus.

Attempts at modifying risk factors most certainly have contributed to the declining death rate from heart attacks in the United States.

While a few decades ago, U.S. death rates from heart attacks were on the rise, but today’s figures show that incidents of heart attacks have comparatively fallen dramatically.

And, overall, heart-related problems have declined about 25 percent in the last decade.

This decrease undoubtedly is due to better medical care of heart attack victims, but it is likely that a sizable percentage is related to modification of risk factors.

New drugs can stop or limit the damage of a heart attack, but only if the patient gets help immediately, experts say.

Once the flow of blood to a portion of the heart is blocked for several hours, the damage is irreversible.

Medical technology is advancing at an increasingly rapid rate. More drugs and medical technology are available than ever before and the entire population is now more aware of the seriousness of heart attacks.

There has been an increased interest in learning CPR and many community organizations now offer this valuable training.

Of particular concern by doctors and researchers is the role that the American diet plays in the health of one’s heart.

Obesity predisposes individuals to coronary heart disease. Some of the reasons for this are known, but others are not.

The major causes of obesity in Americans are excessive intake of calories and inadequate exercise.

When caloric intake is excessive, some of the excess frequently is saturated fat, which further raises the blood cholesterol.

Thus, obesity contributes to higher coronary risk in a variety of ways.

Many of the major risk factors for a heart attack are silent and much of the responsibility for their detection lies with each of us as individuals.

Regular checkups are particularly necessary if there is a family history of heart attacks of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels or diabetes.

May these family healthcare insights help you live a healthy and happy life.

Why You May NOT Want to Use Your Health Insurance for Counseling

Why not use your health insurance for counseling? Isn’t that what it is for?

Perhaps.

But using health insurance for mental health services is a little different than other medical issues. Sometimes mental health issues are not covered by your health insurance. Once you use your health insurance for mental health, you will have a mental health diagnosis on file – a mental health disorder/mental health illness must be on the insurance claim in order for insurance to pay for treatment. This will be in your permanent medical record.

Of course you want to consider using your health insurance for counseling, but there are some good reasons for you to consider why you may not want to use your insurance for counseling services.

Why doesn’t my counselor accept my health insurance?

Many counselors choose not to accept health insurance for very good reasons. They want to focus 100% of their time in treating you. If they accept health insurance, there is a lot of extra work involved in accepting insurance, in addition to agreeing to work for a discounted fee. The counselor may spend hours on the phone getting benefit information, authorizations, or following up on claims payments. The counselor has to wait a month for payment from the insurance company. The counselor has to file progress reports with the insurance company. The counselor is required to submit treatment reports and other details about your medical history with the insurance company.

It’s not that counselors don’t like insurance companies, or don’t want you to use your insurance (we have health insurance too!), but many counselors prefer to focus 100% of their time and energy in helping clients, rather than doing paperwork for insurance companies.

But this isn’t the only reason counselors may not be in network with your health insurance company.

The other reasons are more compelling, and you need to consider them BEFORE you decide to use your health insurance.

Many counselors prefer not to work in network with health insurance companies so that they can better protect your confidentiality. Any information (claims, reports, or treatment plans) filed with health insurance leaves the protection of their office and their locked files and your personal, private, emotional information is outside of your counselor’s office. In order for any insurance company to reimburse or pay for counseling (both in network and out of network), you must be considered “ill”. You must be diagnosed with a mental health illness or disorder. If you are not ill enough to warrant a diagnosis, then insurance will not pay for counseling services. If you do qualify for a mental health diagnosis, your illness will be listed in your permanent medical record. Many counselors don’t like this “medical model” of declaring someone ill, so they choose not to accept insurance because they want to focus on their client’s strengths, and not label them as mentally ill.

Do you want to be considered mentally ill? If you have a mental health diagnosis already, because you have been to counseling or psychiatric appointments in the past, find out what your diagnosis on file is. If you already have a mental health diagnosis, this may not be a concern to you, but if not, you may not want this in your medical record.

Counselors also do not like releasing information to others to protect your confidentiality. Once a claim is submitted to the insurance company, who knows how many people take a look at it and rubber stamp it while it travels through the system? If insurance pays for any counseling sessions (in network or out of network), then the insurance company has the right to audit your complete file. They can request copies of counseling notes, assessments, and other personal emotional information to determine if you really are “sick enough” to warrant their payment. They can deny services to you if they think you aren’t sick enough or if they think your counseling is not “medically necessary”.

Additionally, there are many counseling issues that are not even covered by insurance at all. Stress management and anger management are usually not covered. Marriage counseling is usually not covered. Certain medical conditions/mental health conditions may be excluded (such as attention deficit disorder or adjustment disorder). Even if your illness or disorder is covered by your insurance plan, they may limit the number of visits they will cover (sometimes only 20 per year), and they will set a maximum amount they will pay per calendar year or in your lifetime.

Additionally, counselors prefer not to have someone in the insurance company telling them how to treat their clients. Insurance companies can decide what type of counseling is covered, what diagnoses are allowed, and how many times the client needs to come before they are cured. Many counselors prefer to work directly with clients to serve their needs, without interference from an insurance company.

Using your health insurance for counseling services can also affect your security clearance, life insurance rate, employment, or future health insurance coverage.

For the above reasons, I recommend that you be informed about using health insurance for counseling. You may choose to file anyway, but be an informed consumer.

  • Be an informed consumer.
  • Know your mental health diagnosis.
  • Talk to your counselor about the diagnosis.
  • Ask your counselor about your treatment reports.
  • Decide if you have, or want to have, a psychiatric illness.

If you have clinical, severe depression, anxiety, or other issues, then you probably already have a diagnosis.

But if you are stressed, having relationship problems, or trying to figure out your purpose in life, your symptoms may be minor, and you may not want to have a mental health diagnosis in your records.

Once an insurance claim is submitted to your health insurance company, your diagnosis becomes part of your permanent medical record, and can affect future life insurance, preexisting conditions, or the cost of private health insurance.

Health-Medicinal Benefits of Garlic May Not Include Prevention of Heart Disease

For thousands of years, physicians have been aware of the health/medicinal benefits of garlic. But, today, the popularity of garlic supplements is related primarily to decades of research concerning the health benefits of garlic in lowering cholesterol, thus improving the health of the heart and possibly reducing the risk of heart disease. While no one disputes that there are numerous genuine health benefits of garlic, the most recent research conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) casts doubt on garlic’s cholesterol lowering effect and its benefits to heart health.

Over a period of six months, 169 people with moderately high levels of LDL or bad cholesterol were given three different formulations of garlic supplements. The trials were double blinded, randomized and conducted using placebo controls. Older research supporting claims of the benefits of garlic to heart health were not always conducted in this manner. Some research was conducted using laboratory animals. Some research was not blinded or placebo controlled, meaning that researchers or participants knew they were receiving actual garlic supplements. The problem with non-blinded studies is that the results are sometimes skewed towards what the researchers want or expect the results to be, plus, the placebo effect is well documented. When a person believes that they are receiving a product that will help their condition, any substance will return positive results 10-20% of the time.

NCCAM research concerning the cholesterol lowering benefits of garlic supplements was also controlled so that no other changes in diet or exercise regimens were made, because the primary question is whether or not garlic supplements alone actually have a beneficial effect on LDL cholesterol. If the NCCAM results are accurate, then garlic supplements have no effect on LDL cholesterol levels. Thus, the benefits of garlic to heart health may have been overstated by previous researchers or simply blown out of proportion by the media and supplement companies.

The undisputed health/medicinal benefits of garlic are mostly related to a component known as allicin, which is released when fresh garlic is crushed. Louis Pasteur, the father of modern antibiotics, noted garlic’s antibacterial activity in 1858. It was used to prevent gangrene during World Wars I and II. Other health benefits of garlic include the treatment of various infections, such as upper respiratory infections, fungal infections and infection with intestinal worms and parasites. The garlic must be fresh and crushed in order to be effective. The allicin is lost if garlic is cooked.